ARTS & CULTURE

Frances Cannon And The Push For Body Positivity In Art

The radical illustrator draws boobs and butts with the goal of helping women feel beautiful.

01/03/2016 4:24 AM AEDT | Updated 01/03/2016 5:50 AM AEDT

"Self-love is a process," says artist Frances Cannon. "It takes time and effort. Some days are harder than others, but with practice, patience and belief in yourself, it becomes easier and more natural to love who you are."

Don't lose sight of your worth.

A photo posted by Frances Cannon (@frances_cannon) on

Cannon's practice, patience and belief shines most prominently in her illustrations, habitually displayed for all to see on her Instagram account. Her black-and-white figures -- mostly nude, accented by bits of body hair and well-placed affirmations -- exult themes of self-love and body positivity.

"Today, I resolve to love myself," one reads. "I don't care if my self-confidence scares you," another decrees.

Your tears are relevant. Your feelings are important. You are capable to move through and move on.

A photo posted by Frances Cannon (@frances_cannon) on

As her website notes, Cannon loves drawing naked bodies, boobs and butts, with the aim of helping women -- including herself -- feel beautiful, strong and worthy of love. Rebelling against the beauty standards that demand women work hard for a mythical ideal body type, Cannon's figures are often drawn content with the present. "You are worth all the love in the universe," she tells her fans.

"I decided about two years ago to fully commit to loving and cherishing my body," Cannon explained to The Huffington Post, "and body-positive artwork was an important part of the process. I'm open to making art about other topics and themes, but for now body positivity and feminism is what I'm passionate about and inspired by."

🔥 Pure Power 🔥

A photo posted by Frances Cannon (@frances_cannon) on

Her work, she says, is very personal. Many of her drawings are depictions of her own body and personality, and while plenty of her images show strong and proud women, she doesn't shy away from capturing insecurity too, rendered as hunched shoulders and turned backs. "Your tears are relevant," she writes on one drawing. "Your feelings are important. You are capable to move through and move on."

"The emotions I portray in my work also heavily depend on how I am feeling on the day," she said. "If I'm having a rough day, the characters in my drawings will be sad, and if I'm feeling strong and confident, my characters are joyous. My drawings are like writing in a diary."

Cannon -- a fine art student in Melbourne, Australia -- grew up in Thailand, where both of her parents still work. She's been interested in drawing and art ever since she was a kid, supported by her mother and father who were both happy to pay for art supplies. "I'm always thankful for that," she added.

Today, Cannon mostly finds material for her work in stories of people pushing for change. "Right now, I am inspired by people who are willing to fight for equal rights and justice for women and minorities," she concluded. "I am inspired by people who use their artwork, their voice, or their bodies as protest against inequality."

🌻 Summer Reading 🌻

A photo posted by Frances Cannon (@frances_cannon) on

Many artists today are using their art to confront beauty and image standards in particular, raising awareness of fourth-wave feminist issues along the way. 

Women like Substantia Jones, Kate Allan, and Anastasia Kuba tackle body positivity head on, along with the new comic book Faith, which centers on a telekinetic female superhero. Other artists like Ayqa Khan and Patty Carroll use art to challenge the ways women -- and women of color -- are represented in mainstream media, while photography collectives like Girls by Girls are attempting to reclaim the way young women's bodies are manipulated before a camera. 

Echoing a generation of sex and body-positive women before them, contemporary, Instagram-savvy artists aren't afraid to show you how real women look and feel. Cannon is certainly one of them.

💖💖💖

A photo posted by Frances Cannon (@frances_cannon) on

Spend time making yourself happy and making others happy. 🙃

A photo posted by Frances Cannon (@frances_cannon) on

I love me. I don't need your half-hearted devotion.

A photo posted by Frances Cannon (@frances_cannon) on

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